Our view of the world is limited by our starting point. If we start with the world as it is today, then the future becomes an iteration of the past.
Take the stereotypical home, built on a few hundred sqm of land, with 3-4 bedrooms (for 2.3 kids), a 2 car garage and a big old fence. With the past as our starting point, new homes and apartments are essentially the same, but with (hopefully) better materials.
How would we build differently, if we started with the future?
One challenge for developers and builders is having to guess the kinds of homes people want, which results in houses built for families, with 1 big room and a few smaller rooms, being shared by 5 young professional flat mates. But what if houses were entirely modular, and design was open source? What if downsizing meant, literally taking one modular part out of your house, and selling it to someone who is upsizing? See: Wikihouse.
Taking this thinking further, what would education look like with limitless computing power? With solar and battery technology closing in on an abundance of low cost energy, how would this change our economic systems? If we had no constraints, what would you spend your day doing?
When the imagination gets going, the possibilities are vast. And with so many possibilities, it's difficult to make good decisions about where we go from here. That's where we need the past, where the limitations of what exists today become the opportunities for a better future.
In the face of climate change, we know we need to use less of everything. In interest rates greater than zero world, businesses need to use cash efficiently.
What beautiful constraints, for these are the building blocks of creativity.